Blending and Segmenting Sounds

I just have to share a funny moment between my 3 year old and myself today…

I have been working on blending sounds with Leyson and today I wanted to test his understanding…

 Me: “/b/, /a/, /t/.  Put it together…”
Leyson:  silence
Me: “/b/, /at/. Put it together…”
Leyson: silence
Me: “/b/, /a/, /t/.  /b/, /at/. Put it together…bat. Let’s try another.
Leyson: “No.  /t/,/A/,/k/,/i/,/t/,/u/, /p/, /ar/, /t/. Take it apart!”

I don’t think he likes blending, but at least he figured out segmenting on his own!  And it’s pretty obvious that despite my classroom background, my own kids aren’t always receptive to my teaching efforts.

However, when they ARE excited about learning, how do I teach about blending and segmentingBlending is taking separate sounds and putting them together to make a blended sound  and segmenting is taking them apart, separating the sounds.  That’s easy to remember, right?

I blend and segment a LOT as if it’s perfectly natural to do in conversation.  My kids and I will be talking about baseball and I will say something like, “Don’t forget your baseball bat!  /b/ /a/ /t/ put it together… BAT!”

(Letters inside of / /  represents the sound those letters make.)

When I say “put it together” I take my two index fingers and bring them together to add a little visual to our blending efforts.  And would you believe that to “take them apart” I touch my fingers together and move them apart from each other?  I’d like to take credit for that simple little trick, but alas, someone got to the wheel before me.

When playing I also use toys to help me sound things out as well.  Today I used Hot Wheels to help me blend the sounds together.  I grabbed three cars to segment DOG – /d/ /o/ /g/ – and each time I said a sound, I moved a car up an inch.  This allows your child to visualize how many different sounds are within one word.  Three cars = three different sounds.

Kids really pick up on this repetition, and through that they begin to do the same thing in their heads.  They can better hear the differences between the sounds in words and how sounds work together to make words.  This is beneficial for when we sit down with written words and can break them down sound by sound then piece them back together.  Blending and segmenting are essential skills to learn in order to be able to READ!  This is also a skill that is often looked over in early reading programs that teach reading through visual repeitions such as flash cards.

Even after all this talk lately about putting sounds together and taking them apart, Leyson still missed the mark completely when showing off his baseball trophy with his name on it…

Leyson:  “L…e…y…s…o…n.  That spells ‘mine.'”

So just because he’s blending and segmenting does not mean that he’s reading quiet yet, but baby steps!

Side note:  your child does not have to know all 26 shapes of letters and their sounds for you to begin the habit of blending and segmenting sounds in everyday conversation.  Your goal for this is EXPOSURE… and through repetitive exposure, your child will begin to grasp the CONCEPT of phonemic awareness:  letters make sounds, sounds when put together make words, words are separated from other words and when put together they make phrases and sentences which make up our thoughts and conversations on and on and on!  When we understand this concept, we are ready to learn how to READ!

Food Fun

Hi!  I’m Casey from Kidspired Creations!  I have been a guest blogger a few times on The Mommy Teacher am very excited to now be co-blogging with Jessica!  I am a former Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher and am currently a stay-at-home Mom of 3 little ones ages 5, 3 and 10 months.

I have to admit that despite my best attempts, not all of my Mommy Teacher moments get the best reception from my kids.  I think if I say, “Let’s make a pattern!” one more time, my 3-year-old might throw a toddler tornado-sized tantrum.


Yes, my kids can get burnt out on lessons from this Mommy Teacher; however, I know how to win them over every time:  food, particularly pizza.

I recently saw a recipe on Pinterest that involved cutting zucchini in half long ways, carving out the insides and filling them with various deliciousness.  I decided that these “zucchini boats” would make great pizza crusts!   This idea perked interest with my kids so quickly that I couldn’t prep fast enough.

Zucchini Boat Pizzas

-Ingredients:  zucchini, pepperoni, mozzarella, pizza sauce

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut zucchini long ways and spoon out a trench on the inside.  Spread a few spoonfuls of pizza sauce inside.  Fill with mozzarella cheese.  Top with pepperonis.  Place on the oven for 15-20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Easy peasy… and so delicious that even my super-picky 3-year-old was digging into the “green crust.”

Here are the different skills we covered while making our pizzas:



– Sequencing: “What is the first step to making our pizza?  What comes next?”

– Measuring:  “How long is our zucchini?  Let’s measure in pepperonis.”

– Adding:  “Our pizza needs 3 pepperonis.  There are 2 pepperonis on the pizza now.  How many more do we need to add to make 3?”

-Counting:  “How many pepperonis are on your pizza?”  How many pepperonis are there all together?”

-Multiplying:  (for the school-aged child)  “If we have 3 pepperonis on 10 pizzas, how many pepperonis are there all together?”

-Time:  “Our pizzas need to cook for 20 minutes.  Let’s set the timer.”

Motor Skill Development


-Pouring and spreading the sauce with a spoon

-Sprinkling the cheese using our fingers

-Using the pincer grasp to separate the pepperonis

Language Skills

-Sequencing Vocabulary:  first, second, next, then, last, before, after etc.

Health and Nutrition:  Learning about making healthy choices by substituting with fresh vegetables and what food groups are being included in dinner

Following Directions and Recipes:  Following step-by-step or a series of directions is different than following one direction at a time.  “So, I put the pepperonis on first right???  No?  Well, what do the directions tell me to do?”  You can take this a step further than I did by drawing or writing out the recipe for your child to have a visual to follow.

Social Behaviors:  being a happy helper in the house!  It is important for kids to take ownership over household tasks and doing it with a happy heart!

* * *


My kids do not like to try new things, but since they made the dish themselves they were eager to dig right in!  More surprisingly was my 3-year-old who didn’t shed any tears before his taste test!  That’s quite an accomplishment at our dinner table!  Everyone was happy… even the baby who got pureed zucchini that was scooped out of the middle of our boats.  Bonus!



A Couple Apps for the New Year

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!   I have been soooo busy soaking up time with my little ones as a working mom that I haven’t made time for posts.   But I assure you, I have TONS in the “Posts Drafts” Section of my website that I my new year’s resolution is to share 😉

Here is a quick share for you…

My sister showed me this Montessori Crosswords App that her TWO YEAR OLD was playing and I immediately wanted it on my phone for my little one.   It amazes me how many tools there are in the tech world these days and I love learning about them.

This App is a letter-sound matching tool that sounds out the first, middle, and ending sound of each word one letter-sound at a time.  A child matches the letter to its sound by dragging and dropping the letter in the correct space.   If a child isn’t sure what letter matches the sound, he/she can click on the question mark at the top to show the way the word should look.  Then, the skill changes to a letter recognition skill.

I was amazed that my niece was using deductive reasoning to figure out the right letter that makes the matching sound.   She was either trying different letters until she found the correct one or she was using the self-correct options to check the right letter.

See what I mean here:

This App is great for ages 2-7  in my opinion.  It is a great pre-requisite for phonetic spelling.

My two year old has known all of his upper case for almost a year, but this is a great tool to help him with lower case letter recognition by changing the letter case option to lower.

I don’t like to buy apps but this is one that I caved in and forked out the $2.99 because I know what a reading benefit this kind of tool can be.   Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Montessori Numbers App from the same group is pretty great too! It covers Numbers, Quantities, Numerals, Numerals from quantities, and tracing.  Awesome skills to build on!

Leave a comment with other Apps you like….I love to check them out and see what’s out there 🙂

Reading To A Pumpkin

So, as you might know, I am a Kindergarten Teacher AND a Mommy Teacher.   I like to share classroom ideas that are practical for Mommy (and Daddy) Teachers that WANT to have some supplemental learning fun with their kids at home…..

Or, maybe you are a homeschooler and you tie these fun activities into what you are already doing…..either way, don’t stop! You are making such a difference!

 So, you might find this interesting…

We have a pumpkin in our class that a Reading Friend gave us.  We call him Frank (short for Frankenstein) and we read to him, write to him, and teach him his ABC’s and numbers.

He has kind of become a member of our class…the kids tell him “goodbye” when they walk out the door at the end of the day.   He has also given our class a sense of responsibility because he takes the role of class keeper who keeps an eye out for hard-workers and good friends.

I recommend painting a face on your family pumpkin and give him a role or two that might encourage your little ones to take ownership of their chores or homework.  🙂  Enjoy!

Napkin Book

This is just so fun and so versatile!

A friend of mine and retired Kindergarten teacher named Joy helps me in my classroom and has introduced me to one of many of my new favorite things!


A NAPKIN BOOK…. I mean, how many fun seasonal and themed napkins can you find at dollar tree or even leftover from birthday parties of ages past?!?

All you need to do is make labels with a chosen title and a space for your little “author” like “By ___________” and stick it on the front….. Unless you find an awesome napkin like Joy found that says “Boo!” which is the title of our frist napkin book.

Then print a fun sentence that coordinates with the book like “Boo said the __________.” multiple times on a single page,  Cut it out, and staple it inside the napkin.

To make it that much more fun, Joy found Halloween themed stickers and that is going to be the illustration of each page of the book.

She even made a legend so the kids will know how to write the words in the free space of their sentence.

I love love this activity and will be making lots of books like it 🙂

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